Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dancing on Walls

Dancing on Walls
by Shamina Padamsee
Art by Uma Krishnaswamy

Ages : 4-8

When you find a children's book that combines Indian culture, ancient tribal art and the imagination of a child, what do you do with it? Grab it with both hands, read it and re-read it and review it of course!

Dancing on the Walls is set in the foothills of the Sahyadri Hills (Western Ghats). Here lives a Warli girl called Shirvi who wants to surprise her parents to a clean home when they come back from the market. As she despairs finishing on time, she looks out the window and who should she see but the Moon People! Yes, the moon people! Who come down to Earth occasionally on vacation, to smell the flowers and climb the trees.

Is it any surprise then, that she befriends them, and they come to her home? How these moon people help Shirvi, and how the popular Warli art form originated from them, form the rest of the story. Needless to say this is a fabulously illustrated book. How could it not be, when it shows us the classic red and white Warli paintings?

And the language is so simple that even though the blurb at the Tulika Website says ages 4 and above, my mostly vernacular 3 year old daughter (then), enjoyed it tremendously. The concept of people on the moon meeting a little girl on Earth pleased her to no end. Bonus for a parent, who's always looking for a lesson to teach, is the introduction to a piece of Indian Culture, to the Warli people and their art form.

What I would have additionally liked this book to have is a footnote for parents about Warli people, and their customs, something that would have been interesting for us to read as well as impart to the curious child.

Dancing on the walls is published by Tulika. It is written by Shamin Padamsee and illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy. It is available in English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati and Bangla.

14 comments:

Sheela said...

Warli! Ah, Warli! I was so smitten with this folk art form when i first encountered it - and now a book? have to get it!

And moon people! Well, Ana is so into aliens and moon ppl certainly qualify!

Nice review, Poppy, thanks for another good find!

Kodi's Mom said...

if Poppin liked it, then I must get this book!
enjoyed your review very much.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

THanks for wonderful reviews of children books. I live in US and would like to buy the books such as Magic Vessels, Dancing on Walls and such. Any ideas how to get them here in US?

Also, which book stores sell them in India in cities like Hyderabad?

-Sri

Utbtkids said...

Hi Sri

I usually order Tulika books online. Be it in India or outside they are very reliable.

http://www.parrotsbooks.com/
has a small selection of books.

UTBT

meera sriram said...

Nicely done Poppins. I really like the moon people meeting an Earth girl part - I think every child will be wow-ed:)

ChoxBox said...

@sri: All big bookshops in all Indian cities stock Tulika books.

Poppy, this is one of our favourites as well!

sathish said...

very nice. need to find this one.

ranjani.sathish said...

Hey poppins
This is a lovely pick and I enjoyed your review ! I will try to pick it up from the library next time.

I agree with you that if they give more information and details at the end, it makes for a interesting read for us as well as for the kids.

ChoxBox said...

And Poppy, Pratham Books has a Warli art one too - it is called 'The First Farmers'.

Poppins said...

Thanks for all your comments! This was posted late last night India time so I didn't get to respond to comments first hand :)

Mama - Mia said...

oooh! niice! Cubby still doesn't enjoy listening to entire stories (or maybe i cant make them interesting!)!

should attempt again with some new stuff perhpas!

cheers!

Praba said...

Poppy - I have the book! So clicked with K when she was a preschooler. She would draw Warli for hours and make little projects. Now, S, who is three, loves Shirvi and the Warli drawings. Gorgeousness galore!

Great pick, Poppy - a neat Maharashtra story after Tamilnadu! Shayadri hills sounds beautiful. You or any of you been there?

Praba said...

Poppy - I have the book! So clicked with K when she was a preschooler. She would draw Warli for hours and make little projects. Now, S, who is three, loves Shirvi and the Warli drawings. Gorgeousness galore!

Great pick, Poppy - a neat Maharashtra story after Tamilnadu! Shayadri hills sounds beautiful. You or any of you been there?

Poppins said...

@Sheela: You're welcome - I love the warli bit too
@m2knp: lol
@Anon/Utbt: thanks for that info - i wouldn't know
@Meera: Thanks
@Chox: Is there any book you don't have? No wait, don't answer that question :)
@Satish/Ranjani : Thanks!
@Chox: Do they now? I need to relook at Pratham books
@Abha: Give him some time and try the smaller stories that don't require too much time..
@Praba: Yay! Am waiting for N to grow up now and enjoy the book :) Nope I haven't been to Sahyadri.

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